One of many memorable moments in 2012

In my work I am privileged to see up-close the great work of many, many professionals in education, health and the public sector. For instance, I conducted and digitally recorded over 200 interviews in 2012 and I learnt something good about humanity in every interview. I thank all the people I interviewed for sharing their stories and good practice with me.

An interview that stays clearly in my mind was one I conducted early in 2012 with a very senior police officer from a regional area of NSW, who is an Aboriginal person. He talked about how passionate he was to assist the young Aboriginal people undertaking the IPROWD program – a demonstrably effective program between TAFE NSW, the NSW Police Force, Charles Sturt University and the Commonwealth, that provides an entrance pathway into the NSW Police Force. He also described the extra effort he had put in to making sure he helped the young people as well as possible: for instance, before the course commenced he enrolled in a six month Certificate IV TAE Training and Assessment course with the local TAFE, to improve his facilitation and presentation skills.

In the interview he became emotional about how much he valued his career in the police force and how he wanted the young people to have a similar opportunity. As he spoke his voice began to quiver, but he was determined to say all that he wanted to say and persisted with the interview, and for weeks I found myself thinking about the qualities he represented for me: dignity, humility, generosity, courage, perseverance. I still think about what I learnt from that person, about humanity.

John Mitchell